- Expect baby to be super alert in the first hour after birth. This is probably the most alert you’ll see him for days.
- Expect baby to go into a deep sleep called recovery sleep 1-2 hours after delivery. This can sometimes last up to six hours.
- Expect to offer the breast every 2-3 hours around the clock. It is normal for baby to be very sleepy and even skip a feeding or two, but it is very important to make attempts at least every 3 hours. That means stripping baby down to his diaper, removing the hat, and expressing colostrum onto baby’s lips to try to entice baby.
- Expect to hold baby skin-to-skin as much as possible. That way baby can hear your heartbeat and smell your milk which should encourage him to want to feed. Babies love being skin-to-skin and will sleep there for a while before waking to feed. It is also a good trick to settle a baby who is upset.
- Expect to spend a lot of time at the breast. There are no time limits at the breast. Baby can breastfeed as long as he wants: until he comes off on his own or falls asleep. You’ll know baby is swallowing when you see long, deep jaw movements. Sometimes babies are very sleepy at the breast and will require frequent stimulation to keep them active. If baby seems interested after the first breast you can offer the second, but babies do not have to breastfeed from both breasts at every feeding. Begin with the opposite breast at the next feeding.
- Expect baby to exhibit feeding cues often. You’ll know baby is ready to breastfeed when he becomes more active, begins licking the lips, sticking out the tongue, putting the hands to the mouth, or searching for the breast with the mouth. Crying is a late sign of hunger, and babies generally do not feed well when crying. Try to get to the baby before crying occurs. (Read more about feeding cues here.)
- Expect baby to have frequent, small feedings. Baby’s stomach is very small in the first 24-hours, only about the size of a teaspoon. Baby does not need much colostrum, and the amount of colostrum your body is making is perfectly suited to your baby’s needs. Try not to give any supplementary feeds unless medically necessary.
- Expect baby to have at least one pee and one poop diaper in the first 24-hours. Anything over this is a bonus!
- Expect to fall madly in love with this new little human.
Plan on limiting visitors to ensure that you and baby have adequate time to rest and practice breastfeeding. Read here about Nighttime and why restricting visitors is key.
This is a great video about skin-to-skin. Check it out.